Eastcut Sandwich Bar

3211 Old Chapel Hill Road, Durham, eastcutsandwich.com

East Coast-inspired sandwiches dominate the menu at this self-styled sandwich utopia: chicken parm, cheese-fry steak hero, an Italian cold cuts sub with prosciutto cotto, hot capicola, salami, and hand-pulled mozzarella. There are decent options for vegetarians, too, such as the beets and goat cheese sammy and the house veggie burger, stacked with vegan black bean-lentil patties. Pair your choice with a side of sweet potato tots and a craft beer, then snag a seat on the outdoor patio.

KoKyu Na’Mean 

4823 Meadow Drive, Durham, kokyubbq.com/nmean 

Tucked inside a strip mall off Highway 55, this sandwich shop feels like a best-kept secret between friends. Whether or not you’re a “sandwich person,” you’ll find something to love in the house specialty sandwiches, especially the Pyongyang Hot Chicken. Soft, airy bread surrounds crispy Korean fried chicken, crunchy pickled radish, and spicy jalapeños, creamy gochujang mayo, and saucy ssamjang.

King’s Sandwich Shop

701 Foster Street Durham, kingssandwichshop.com 

Since 1942, King’s has served burgers, hot dogs, fries, and other lunchtime goodness near Durham Central Park. The sandwich menu has standbys like the BLT and hot grilled cheese, but also the Cackalacky King, a beer-soaked brat topped with pulled pork, coleslaw, hot sauce, and BBQ sauce, all piled onto a bun. Good luck staying awake through that afternoon conference call.   

Lucky’s Deli

105 West Chapel Hill Street, Durham, luckysdelinc.com

All your up-North deli staples can be found here, but the sandwiches are a cut above. We love the garbanzo with cucumber and tomato wheels on a toasty eight-inch hoagie roll, and the eggplant parm could feed a not-so-small army. 

Merritt’s Grill 

1009 South Columbia Street, Chapel Hill, merritsstoreandgrill.com 

You can order any of the delicious sandwiches and leave satisfied, but why would you, when there’s really only one reason to go to Merritt’s? Three reasons, actually: Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. The Merritt’s BLT is the stuff of legend. Order it like a townie, on sourdough, with mayo, salt, and pepper. 

Parker & Otis

112 South Duke Street, Durham, parkerandotis.com 

Lots of folks stop by P&O for a quick breakfast nibble or a cup of coffee, or even to browse the books and gifts and impulse buys on offer. But come lunchtime, there’s also a bounty of delicious sandwiches on the menu—shrimp with Havarti and bacon on sourdough, tomato and fresh mozzarella on focaccia, a salami and white cheddar panini, and so on. 

A Place at the Table

300 West Hargett Street, Raleigh, tableraleigh.org

From the roster of scratch-made breakfast and lunch options, sandwiches rule, especially the triple-decker turkey-bacon-avocado club. At breakfast, you’ll find open-faced sandwiches, including avocado toast, and some excellent Southern biscuit breakfast sandwiches. Even better? Meals and donations at this pay-what-you-can cafe help feed the less fortunate.


Multiple locations, publix.com

We planned this magazine with a no-national-chains rule, and for the most part, we stuck to it. This is the exception. Throughout the Southeast, where the Publix Supermarkets chain is spreading its tentacles, the Pub Sub has gained a sort of infamy; it will in the Triangle, too, as Publix fans out from (where else?) Cary. The subs are made with fresh-baked bread, fresh veggies, excellent meats and cheeses (Boar’s Head, if you want), and they’re always cheap, filling, and scrumptious. You can fight it all you want, but you’ll end up loving them, too. 

Rue Cler

401 East Chapel Hill Street, Durham, ruecler-durham.com

Pull up a seat at the bar at this Parisian-leaning bistro and pair a bowl of the soup du jour with one of the crepes or sandwiches—say a croque madame, a grilled ham and cheese topped with bechamel and a sunny-side egg, or the merguez frites, with spicy lamb sausage and fries piled onto a baguette slicked with harissa aioli. 

Toast Paninoteca

345 West Main Street, Durham, toast-fivepoints.com

Downtown Durham’s favorite paninoteca seals cured meats and cheeses in perfectly grilled bread, a rustic Italian style with a modern Durham flavor. Try the soppressata with fontina, arugula, and mustard, or the Tuscan kale with pickled peppers.